Even if it’s easier than some other positions, there’s still a transition from college to the NFL for rookie running backs. Colts second-round RB Jonathan Taylor has been learning that for most of the season until he finally had the massive breakout performance everyone was waiting for Sunday against the Raiders. Taylor was trusted with 20 carries and he turned those in 150 yards and two touchdowns, including a 62-yard scoring burst where he outrain the entire Raiders defense.
“He’s just a nose-to-the-grindstone kind of guy,” Colts LT Anthony Castonzo said via the Athletic’s Stephen Holder. “He’s just a blue-collar guy. You don’t get any of that feeling like he’s a high draft pick or he’s a Prima donna at all. I think that’s why you see him continually improving, because he’s willing to work. I think he’s starting to get it. He’s starting to know where the holes are going to (form). And when someone has the physical gifts that he has, and he starts to get it and find those holes, he’s going to be a force to be reckoned with.”
- Castonzo played just two weeks removed from injuring his MCL but acknowledged he wasn’t feeling 100 percent: “Those MCLs are no fun, especially as a lineman, as much as you have to anchor down and change direction laterally.” (Joel Erickson)
- Colts HC Frank Reich seemed like he would be perfectly happy if QB Philip Rivers returned for another season: “The way he’s playing right now… We said it when he got here, if he wants it, he’s got multiple years of good football in him.” (Holder)
- Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer says to keep an eye on former Ohio State HC Urban Meyer as a potential head coach option for the Jaguars, as if his health allows it Meyer would have an interest.
- Jaguars C Brandon Linder will miss Week 15, while the team won’t bring DT Abry Jones off of injured reserve. (Mark Long)
Texans QB Deshaun Watson isn’t formally on owner Cal McNair‘s advisory committee or search firm as he looks to hire a new head coach and general manager. But McNair has solicited Watson’s input on the process given Watson is currently the best thing about the franchise and its greatest selling point.
“I mean, they just put a lot of trust in me and what things he wants and what I want, and just as a whole, as an organization where we want to go forward from here,” Watson said via Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle. “We’ve got to make decisions and go from there. But yeah, that was pretty much it. A lot of respect between me and Mr. McNair.”
- Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer writes Chiefs OC Eric Bieniemy continues to be a strong candidate for the Texans job and could bring Chiefs director of football operations Mike Borgonzi with him as a general manager.
- Texans interim HC Romeo Crennel said they expect to have RB David Johnson back, as he was a high-risk contact. (Wilson)
- Crennel added there’s a “good possibility” WR Randall Cobb is done for the season and won’t be able to come off injured reserve. (Sarah Barshop)
- Crennel does expect Houston to get WR Brandin Cooks back from his neck injury this year, though. (Wilson)
Titans RB Derrick Henry continued to run wild over the Jaguars, racking up 215 yards and two touchdowns in a blowout win that was also his fourth career game of 200 yards rushing. Henry didn’t even play the final 11 minutes of the game when he could have added even more yardage but he was satisfied with the win.
“If we could go 4-0 these last weeks I’d be most happy,” Henry said via the Athletic’s Joe Rexrode. “Like I said earlier this week, I don’t care about stats. Last week I was really pissed off about the way I played, thought I played poorly and I didn’t do my job to help my team, so I’m still pissed off about last week. I just want to do my job to help my team and do anything I can to help us win. Stats really don’t matter.”